July 14, 2008


That New Yorker Cover

I'm sure you've seen it by now. I'm not going to show it any respect by stealing it and posting it here but it probably won't be too much trouble for you to find it on your own. However I will post Jeff Lieber's brilliant take on it:
Dear David Remnick, Editor, New Yorker:

Dude, I've ben thinking about a hysterical piece of cover art.

What if I did one of those evolutionary charts, showing how primitive man evolved into modern man, but where the missing link is supposed to go... I drew Barack Obama! It could be ironic, y'know, and show how SOME think black people are a lower form of human life!

Oh! And I could draw it so the last figure... the most evolved... looks like John McCain!

Huh? Huh? Funny?

Tell me what you think?


Barry Blitt, illustrator

Dear Barry:

Great idea, Barry! Great!

But let me try and make it even better. What if... ha-ha-ha... what if you drew a slave ship and sitting at one of the stations, chained to his seat, rowing like mad... was Barack Obama.

That would be VERY IRONIC and VERY BITING and INTELLECTUAL, because it could show how SOME people still see him as a descendant of the slave trade and therefore, like... property.

You know, like a washing machine!

Funny, right?

Hugs and kisses,


Dear David:

The slave ship thing is... my wife and I were HOWLING about it in bed last night.

But it gave me an even better idea.

What if the cover were an image from the south in like the 30's, right? And Barack Obama were running for his life? (I bet you can see where I'm going here!) And chasing Barack Obama where a bunch of Klu Klux Klan members, in their white sheets, carrying torches.

Wouldn't that be EDGY! And Ironic. So ironic! It could be about how SOME have seen this election about race-relations and how SOME are still dealing in the politics of hate!

I just think... ha-ha-ha... think that would be GREAT?!? You?

With admiration and class,


Dear Barry:

The lynching cover does sound GREAT, and CLASSY, but what if... what if you draw the image of Martin Luther King on the hotel balcony, but instead of Martin Luther King... standing there is... BARACK OBAMA!

Isn't that SARDONIC? And, like, SUPER IRONIC.

It could be about how SOME people who have run in this campaign have made references to people wanting to assassinate the Democratic candidate for President! Wow! Huh? Yes!?!?

With hopes for a better tomorrow,


Dear David:

Wait. Wait. This just came to me. What if the cover was NOT of Barack Obama, but of John McCain and the image was from a Vietnam POW camp and the North Vietnamese were torturing him. Knocking his teeth out and water-boarding him.

It could be an ironic commentary about how SOME feel about our OWN tactics during this war, right, and therefore extremely, extremely, funny.

Can't wait to go to work,


Dear Barry:

I'm sorry, but your last email really offended me. Can you imagine how John McCain's kids might react to such a cover filled with hateful imagery? Can you imagine how Republicans would react if we tried to get a laugh out of the Senator's pain?

Have you no sense of decency, sir?

Look, just go with a cover of Barack and Michelle Obama in the Oval Office. He's in Kenyan garb and she looks like a militant, gun toting black radical. Put a burning American flag in the fireplace and a photo of Osama Bin Laden above the hearth.

You know... subtle... non-inflammatory.

Because, in the end, we can't take a chance that we would stir up hate.


Look, I'm not an idiot. I know that the cover is supposed to be satire. But it's satire without context and therefore it simply reinforces the asinine stereotypes coming from the right. The New Yorker should know better.

(h/t reader Sal)


For a brief moment I thought Tina Brown had retaken the magazine when I first glanced at the cover. ( I usually take an online look every Monday, mainly to see if they've run any of my cartoons.)

The first thought hat came to my mind was that Mr. Blitt's image would be immediately appropriated and spread throughout the loonball right wing blogoflat and that a poor judgement had been made. And that's about it.

To David Remnick's credit, over the course of his ten year run he has included reporting by Seymour Hersh, Jon Lee Anderson and many others which has been of a standard sorely missing elsewhere in the MSM.

On balance, the current cover can bee seen more as regrettable incident put across by too cool by half art directors than anything like an ominous trend.

I like puppies, too.
once again, the rude pundit summed it up best:

"See, the Rude Pundit's problem with the whole Barack-as-Muslim and Michelle-as-Black-Panther plus burning flag and bin Laden's picture in the Oval Office isn't that it's particularly offensive. It's that it's just not very funny. It's not even enough to make you go, "Hmmm." You glance at it once and think, "Yeah, some people think that, don't they? That's a shame." And there the whole joke ends. There's no more levels to it. It's like an Upper East Side version of South Park, an elitist attempt at crude humor, like an ironic fart at a wine tasting."
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